In March 2022, LBMA commissioned a feasibility study to support LBMA to make an impactful change in the current sourcing practices of ASM material by GDL refiners. The study was led by an independent consultant, who was also a former member of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo and wrote the Group’s due diligence guidelines for companies sourcing minerals from conflict areas. The study involved desk-based research and numerous interviews with GDL refiners, members of the World Gold Council (WGC) and Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and leading NGOs and experts working in the ASM sector. The study makes six key recommendations. The results have been discussed with the LBMA Board and other stakeholders.

The purpose of the study was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and obstacles facing the ASM sector. The study also provides a considered analysis and evaluation of possible interventions and the roles different actors in the ASM ecosphere could play – from mine site actors to GDL refiners.

The intention is for this report to inform LBMA as it develops a longer-term, ‘pro-ASM’ strategy that advances not just the sourcing practices, but also direct market access for those who depend on ASM gold for their livelihood.